Skip to comments.Former Presidents Carter & Clinton call for 'A New Baptist Covenantí
Posted on 01/11/2007 8:59:58 AM PST by presidio9
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have proposed the establishment of a broadly inclusive alternative Baptist movement to counter what they called a negative image of Baptists and to address poverty, the environment and global conflicts.
Carter and Clinton kicked off their plans with a news conference Jan. 9 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, flanked by leaders of moderate Baptist groups including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a breakaway group of an unverified number of churches that objected to the election of conservative leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. Carter and Clinton announced a Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, tentatively set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2008, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, which they hope will attract 20,000 Baptists.
This is a historic event for the Baptists in this country and perhaps for Christianity, Carter said at the news conference.
About 80 leaders of 40 moderate Baptist organizations claiming to represent 20 million Baptists in the United States, Canada and Mexico met at the Carter Center for the announcement. Leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention were not invited to attend.
This is an attempt to bring people together and say, What would our Christian witness require of us in the 21st century? Clinton said, adding that his goal is to be a cheerleader for the group.
Bill Underwood, president of Mercer University in Georgia, said at the news conference that the 2008 meeting is meant to draw attention away from the Baptists who have the microphone, meaning conservative leaders who frequently appear in the media voicing conservative views.
North America desperately needs a true Baptist witness, Underwood said.
Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., took issue with Underwoods assertion and Carters and Clintons remarks apparently aimed at Southern Baptists.
Instead of engaging in a war of words, lets do a reality check, Page told Baptist Press. Word games are fine, but reality says Southern Baptists are presenting a positive life-changing message, impacting our culture with our ministries and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Carter and Clinton said they want to counter concerns that Baptists have been negative and exclusionary and promised an inclusive organization willing to debate openly on all issues.
Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said that Carters concerns about negative perceptions of Baptists ring hollow.
He has been one of the most vocal critics of Southern Baptists, using fundamentalist as a pejorative and drawing a caustic comparison between Ayatollah Khomeinis rise to power in Iran and the resurgence of conservative leadership being elected in the SBC, Chapman wrote to Baptist Press.
Chapman also disputed Carters and Clintons notion about a negative perception of Baptists.
Research shows this premise is false, he said. Zogby International conducted a survey for the SBC that showed adults view Southern Baptists favorably, equally to their views about Catholics and United Methodists. Not surprisingly, we fared best in areas where we have a strong presence and the community at large experiences our ministries and is familiar with our beliefs."
Tentative themes for plenary sessions at the 2008 meeting in Atlanta, according to a CBF communications report, are: Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor, Unity in Respecting Religious Diversity, Unity in Seeking Peace with Justice and Unity in Welcoming the Stranger and Healing the Broken-Hearted.
Both Page and Chapman addressed Clintons and Carters statements that the gathered group offered something new for Baptists.
Page pointed out that although Southern Baptists are painted as a white denomination, It was not long ago that the Saturday Evening Post described the Southern Baptist Convention as 'the most ethnically diverse of all U.S. Protestant denominations.'
According to SBC data for 2002, 4,742 out of 43,071 churches identified themselves as predominately ethnic, with 2,085 describing themselves as African-American. The SBC does not keep demographic information on individuals, so churches identified as predominately one race may have diversity among their members not reported in the data.
Chapman defended Southern Baptists record of ministering to the poor.
"Southern Baptists address world hunger in many ways, but a good example this past year was their giving $5.8 million, collected by the SBC Executive Committee, with every penny going solely to combat this global tragedy," Chapman said.
According to budget allocations, about 20 percent of funds collected for the SBCs World Hunger Fund are used in the United States and 80 percent overseas.
In the U.S. alone, Southern Baptists provided over 5 million meals, he said. The great difference in our approach from liberals is that in ministering to the body, we do not neglect the needs of the soul, and the Gospel was shared with over 500,000 people with over 32,000 professions of faith resulting.
When we offer a loaf of bread, no strings attached, we also present Jesus as the Living Bread and lives are changed both physically and spiritually, Chapman told BP.
The 2008 confabulation Clinton and Carter propose will coincide with a U.S. presidential election year. Clinton's wife, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is a possible candidate and has hired a consultant to advise her on religion. Democrats have made winning over "faith voters" a major election strategy. --30--
I was thinking he's more a "Raptist"
It is bad enough that so called liberal Christianity has destroyed the historic Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal churches, now these two bumpkins with as much spiritual integrity as Osama want the Baptists to forget Biblical theology, integrity, evangelism and the center-piece of of Christianity, the examples of Jesus Himself. For them and Chavez,Jesus was just a pacifist, socialist and revolutionary with no spiritual standards. Clinton especially likes that one.
This has been coming for a long time. I have been warning my leftist friends who are constantly freaking out about church/state separation that they need to be more careful of the left, than the right on these issues.
It is one thing to have a church support certain governmental policies. It is another to have politicians establishing religion.
Said another way: the problem is not when religion and religious people influence government...the problem is when politicians influence religion.
Whenever anybody, much less these 2 preening hypocrites, calls for "inclusive" Christianity, they mean jettisoning the Bible.
Also note that their agenda is based on being concerned about the "negative image" of Baptists. Jesus spoke pretty clearly on how the world would view Christians, but I guess these 2 know better.
You mean (gasp) we can.........dance in public now?
Why do I see an analogy to the Communist Party infiltration of the Catholic Church in Poland with the Democrats push for a "Christian angle" on their political party?
Don't groups like the Baptists hire people like America's Presidents to represent them in the media? I guess that even though these two had twelve years to do the job, all they did is drag the Baptist's reputation down with them.
My Grandmama had it right when she noted that the most prominent member of a group forms the image of that group in everyone else's mind.
African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Alliance of Baptists
American Baptist Churches in the USA
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Church of the Brethren
The Coptic Orthodox Church in North America
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends United Meeting
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Hungarian Reformed Church in America
International Council of Community Churches
Korean Presbyterian Church in America
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Mar Thoma Church
Moravian Church in America Northern Province and Southern Province
National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
Orthodox Church in America
Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Polish National Catholic Church of America
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Reformed Church in America
Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S.A. and Canada
The Swedenborgian Church
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America
United Church of Christ
The United Methodist Church
Still going on today in China where there is a Communist Party sanctioned Catholic Church (the party appoints the bishops) an underground Catholic Church (attendance of which is a capital offense).
I hate the politicizing of faith. I hate it when conservatives do it and I especially loathe it men liberals do it.
When faith becomes a means to an end it is no longer faith it is a political mechanism. The meaning of faith is faith itself.
The Church of Two Backwoods Bubbas.
Not so with the Catholic Church. Thanks to the mainstream media, instead of Pope John Paul II, or Mother Theresa, when people think of the Catholic Church today the knee-jerk image is of a handful of perverts.
The apple didn't fall far from the tree.
A more accurate picture of Cahtlicism would be its " catholic" nature ( the adjective) Catholcism is no more monolithic than protestantism. Within the body of Catholics you run the range from Nazis to Communists. As my brother noted Catholicisnm in the only faith in which you could have Pat Buchanan, Joe McCarthy, The berrigan Brothers and Daniel Ortega sitting in the same pew read the same St. Joseph's missal.
In Poland elements of the Church served as a bulwark against communism while others collaborated with it.
i have to admit i added the latest keyword (starts with "a").
fundamentalist southern baptist bible-believin PING !!
They're going to replace with communion with child sacrifice?
We would laugh at them if we were invited.
these are not REAL Baptists!
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